“Do you feel more secure today than you did one year ago?” The successes have been in countering terrorism, which tend to be palliative, not preventive. There is a distinction between disrupting threats and diminishing the phenomenon.
At the beginning of the EastWest Institute’s 4th Worldwide Security Conference (WSC4), held on February 22-24, 2007 in Brussels, most attendees gave a pessimistic reaction to this straw poll. Two themes were central to the conference. Firstly, that at the core of counter-terrorism is the essential task of not allowing terrorist violence to dictate the nature and function of our society; and secondly, that terrorism is illegitimate and criminal. Terrorism cannot damage our liberties and rights, and it is a crime, not a war. Are we winning the long-term struggle against current terrorist groups and movements? The conference said no. Are the terrorists winning the propaganda war? The conference said yes.